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For his fellow-citizens, if their prayers could have been answered, he would have been immortal. For me, his departure is at a most unfortunate moment. Trusting, however, in the wise and righteous dominion of Providence over the passions of men, and the results of their councils and actions, as well as over their lives, nothing remains for me but humble resignation.

His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read. If a Trajan found a Pliny, a Marcus Aurelius can never want biographers, eulogists, or historians. JOHN ADAMS.

United States, December 23, 1799.

The Senate returned to their own chamber.

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Condy, their Clerk:

Mr. President: The joint committee appointed on the part of the House of Representatives, on the 19th instant, on the receipt of the intelligence of the death of General George Washington, having made report to that House, they have agreed to sundry resolutions thereupon, in which they desire the concurrence of the Senate. And he withdrew. Mr. Dayton, from the joint committee, appointed the 19th instant, on the part of the Senate, on the receipt of the intelligence of the death of General George Washington, reported in past, and the report was agreed to. Whereupon,

Resolved, unanimously, That the Senate do concur in the aforesaid resolutions.


In conformity to the resolve of the 23d instant, the Senate went in procession to the German Lutheran Church, where was delivered an oration* in honor of the memory of General orge Washington. After which, they returned to their own chamber; and

Adjourned to 11 o'clock to-morrow morning.

*See oration of Henry Lee, p. 247

On motion,


Resolved, That the thanks of the Senate be communicated, through heir President, to General Henry Lee, for the eloquent and impressive oration to the memory of General George Washington, which he prepared and delivered at the request of Congress.

Resolved, That the Secretary be directed to apply to General Lee for a copy of the same.




1. In seeking, among the great mass of literary matter that has emanated from the able and intelligent minds and honest hearts of the statesmen of the Revolution, for compositions or productions which imbody more completely than any others, and within the smallest compass, the true principles, objects, and designs, duties and responsibilities, of the American Government under the Constitution, none can be found comparable to the inaugural addresses of those wise and true patriots who brought with them to the presidential office, not only the experience they had acquired in those times when the energies and resources of the stoutest hearts and ablest minds were constantly in requisition, but the advantages of the highest intelligence, resulting from that investigation of causes, and deliberation upon effects, constituting the prominent characteristics of truly great minds. These worthy spirits had witnessed and felt the oppression of the colonial system of bondage; the want of a general government for the United Colonies in the com mencement and progress of the Revolution; the total inefficiency of the old form of government under the Confederation; and some had taken part in, while all had been eye-witnesses of, the efficient and paternal administration of government under the Constitution by the great and good Washington. The sentiments and principles emanating from such sources, upon a subject so momentous, cannot fail to be highly interesting and instructive to the young statesmen and patriots of our country; while, to every American citizen capable of reading and understanding, they will be an in valuable means of judging properly of the views and principles

of the public men who may be candidates for their suffrage and favor; for, if their declarations and sentiments contradict those contained in these inaugural addresses, doubts may well be entertained of their soundness or sincerity, and every man will be justified, in the exercise of his birthright as an American citizen, in supporting the Constitution as understood and executed by its framers and best friends.


(Will be found with his political acts in Chapter 4, p. 211.)


MARCH 4, 1797.

When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist, than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country. Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence, which had so signally protected this country from the first, the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present number, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging, and the rod of iron that was lifted up, but frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.

The zeal and ardor of the people, during the revolutionary war, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order, sufficient at least for the temporary preservation of society. The Confederation, which was early felt to be necessary, was prepared from the models of the Batavian and Helvetic confederacies-the only examples which remain, with any detail and precision, in history, and certainly the only ones which the people at large had ever considered. But, reflecting on the striking difference, in so many particulars, between this country and those where a courier

may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen, by some who assisted in Congress at the formation of it, that it could not be durable.

Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals, but in States, soon appeared, with their melancholy consequences; universal languor; jealousies and rivalries of States; decline of navigation and commerce; discouragement of necessary manufactures; universal fall in the value of lands and their produce; contempt of public and private faith; loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations; and, at length, in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection, threatening some great national calamity.

In this dangerous crisis, the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisitions, discussions, and deliberations, issued in the present happy constitution of government.

Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads, prompted by good hearts-as an experiment, better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations, of this nation and country, than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines, it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage, in common with my fellowcitizens, in the adoption or rejection of a Constitution which was to rule me and my posterity, as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it, on all occasions, in public and in private. It was not then, nor has been since, any objection to it, in my mind, that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent. Nor have I ever entertained a thought of promoting any alteration in it, but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necessary or expedient, and, by their representatives in Congress and the State legislatures, according to the Constitution itself, adopt and ordain. Returning to the bosom of my country, after a painful separation from it, for ten years, I had the honor to be elected to a station under the new order of things, and I have repeatedly laid mysel

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